J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Meeting the Quincy Women, 12 Nov.

In January 1759, John Adams paid a call to Col. Josiah Quincy’s house in Braintree (shown here).

There the young lawyer found his host’s daughter Hannah (1736–1826) and her first cousin Esther Quincy (1738–1810).

Referring to Hannah Quincy as “O.” in his diary, Adams compared the two young ladies:
O. thinks more than most of her Sex. She is always thinking or Reading. She sitts and looks steadily, one way, very often, several minutes together in thought. E. looks pert, sprightly, gay, but thinks and reads much less than O. . . .

O. makes Observations on Actions, Characters, Events, in Popes Homer, Milton, Popes Poems, any Plays, Romances &c. that she reads and asks Questions about them in Company. What do you think of Helen? What do you think of Hector &c. What Character do you like best? Did you wish the Plot had not been discovered in Venice preserved? These are Questions that prove a thinking Mind. E. asks none such.
But really they were both flummoxing him: “I talk to Hannah and Easther about the folly of Love, about despizing it, about being above it, pretend to be insensible of tender Passions, which makes them laugh.”

Hannah Quincy married Dr. Bela Lincoln of Hingham the next year. Esther Quincy married Adams’s friend and fellow lawyer Jonathan Sewall in 1764. That same year, Adams married Abigail Smith, whose mother was a Quincy.

On Thursday, 12 November, Nancy Carlisle will speak at Old North Church in Boston on the topic “From the Revolution to the Close of the Nineteenth Century, the Remarkable Women of the Quincy Family.”
In a family where six successive generations of Quincy men held prominent public roles in the civic life of Boston and New England, the women in the family have long been overshadowed. But in reality it is because of them that we know as much as we do about their husbands, fathers, and brothers. When we shine a light on the lives of the Quincy wives and daughters we learn about the role that intelligent, articulate, and engaged women played in the political and cultural life of the region.
Carlisle is the Senior Curator of Collections for Historic New England. For the past three years she has focused on the Quincy House and its inhabitants as part of a major reinstallation.

This talk is scheduled to start at 6:30 P.M. It is free, but Old North asks people to reserve seats through this site. There will be a reception afterwards.

1 comment:

Mary Jean Adams said...

What a neat little look into a very personal side of John Adams. Not that he wasn't always sharing his feelings, but this is from a much younger Adams than I usually see.